New research released by Booking.com, shows that Indians are eager to hit the roads and the skies for a leisure trip despite some COVID-19 restrictions.
As the world starts to emerge from strict border closures, Indians are eager to make their travel dreams a reality in the next few months. 86% of Indian travellers stated that they intend to travel in the next 12 months. And despite some COVID-19 restrictions, travel optimism continues to remain high with 70% of Indian travellers accepting anticipated travel disruptions and 78% considering leisure travel as important while keeping their overall health and safety in mind.
The insights have been drawn from Booking.com’s inaugural APAC Travel Confidence Index, which provides a snapshot of how confident consumers feel about exploring the world again and their motivation to travel. The commissioned research, which polled 11,000 travellers from 11 countries and territories¹ across the Asia Pacific, combined with the company’s proprietary data and insights as a digital travel leader for the past 25 years, offers insights into the region’s travel confidence.
India ranks first on the Travel Confidence Index
The Travel Confidence Index explores the overall comfort levels, motivators and concerns of consumers across Asia-Pacific and how this varies across the region. Amongst the 11 APAC markets, India has emerged as the most confident, followed closely by Vietnam and China. While North Asian markets of Korea, Taiwan and Japan ranked lower on the index in terms of overall confidence, travel intent among respondents remained relatively high (above 60%).
Top travel considerations and motivators
The desire to travel remains strong amongst the Asia Pacific as well as Indian travellers, with ease of planning and booking travel, as well as cost, being the top two considerations. Both ranked consistently high across all markets, even as restrictions continue to ease around the region.
While corporate travel is beginning to make a comeback, the shift to remote working and virtual meetings has perhaps brought about a shift in the way we work. Despite many employees having returned to the office across India, only 25% of Indian travellers (An average of 13% in APAC) indicated that work was a reason for them to book a trip. This signifies a slower revitalisation in corporate vs leisure travel.
Top travel deterrents amidst uncertainty
Unsurprisingly, uncertainty due to the constantly evolving COVID-19 situation continues to plague travellers. When asked about their top concerns and what would prevent them from booking a trip, the ‘possibility of getting stuck because of frequently changing border regulations’ was listed as the top deterrent by 35% of Indian travellers (APAC 37%). This was followed by ‘travel cost’ and fear of having to undergo quarantine both at 33% each (APAC average of 38% and 37% respectively).
In fact, the research findings put an increased emphasis on flexibility in travel bookings, as 89% of Indian travellers would postpone or cancel a trip if they saw a rise in COVID-19 cases at their travel destination.
State of international travel with borders reopening
The impact of the kind of trips we take thanks to COVID-19 is likely to continue in the near future as the Booking.com research reveals a preference for domestic travel, despite a resumption of international travel. 87% of Indian travellers are likely to travel domestically, even when international travel restrictions are completely lifted.
In addition, Indians continue to remain welcoming to tourists and visitors, with 87% of Indians polled comfortable with India reopening its borders to international travellers. 84% of Indian travellers stated that they are confident about their country’s preparedness to safely receive international travellers.
Sustainable travel remains important & top of mind
Out of the 11 markets polled across the APAC region, India once again topped the index in terms of intent to travel sustainably, with 93% of respondents agreeing on the importance of making sustainable travel decisions followed by Vietnam (83%) and China (77%). The intent also translates into action as 82% of Indian travellers are willing to pay more if it means they can make more sustainable travel choices and 77% of Indian travellers are okay with less variety in options as long as their travel decisions are sustainable.
On the other hand, for travellers from markets such as Australia, New Zealand and Japan, cost and a wide variety of sustainable stay options are core considerations when it comes to making sustainable travel decisions.
Ritu Mehrotra, Commercial Director, APAC at Booking.com said, “It is exciting to see India emerge at the top of Booking.com’s APAC Travel Confidence Index. The findings highlight Indian travellers’ love for travel and readiness to explore the world once again. And while travel optimism remains strong, it’s inspiring to know that the intent to travel sustainably is also a key consideration for Indian travellers. The overall insights are a promising indication of the opportunities available for the industry to adapt and collaborate now to bolster the overall confidence of travellers, so we can truly make it easier for everyone to travel and experience the world again – now and in the years to come”
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